ICU celebrating Matariki through reflection and strengthening relationships | Te Whatu Ora - Te Tai Tokerau

ICU celebrating Matariki through reflection and strengthening relationships

The Whangārei Hospital Intensive Care Unit staff at Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora Te Tai Tokerau have been celebrating Matariki through reflection and strengthening relationships.  

Kirsta-Lee Harris, ICU Associate Clinical Nurse put the call out a month ago to encourage acknowledgment of the Matariki and the bringing together of the entire unit. 

Inspired by Matariki and her eight daughters, different activities were planned to reflect all nine stars in the Matariki cluster.  

For Kirsta-Lee, Matariki is a time to think about hopes and goals for the year ahead. 

“It’s my time of reflection. For myself it is grounding and coming back to my roots,” she said. 

“Waiti, Waita, Tupuānuku, and Tupuārangi signify the four environments we harvest our kai from.” 

The freshwater feature located at the entrance of the ICU was associated with Waiti, the various seashells represented Waita. Tupuānuku and Tupuārangi prompted varying harakeke and rāranga instalments, and kokedama placements.

Ururangi and Waipunga-ā-rangi, stars associated with the rain and wind, were symbolised using rain and wind sounds throughout the unit. 

“Pohutukawa, the daughter which connects us with those who have passed on, both personally and within the unit, and whānau who connections were formed with, were acknowledged during our hangi and hui.”

Hiwa –I-te-rangi, the youngest daughter, was represented through the activity where each staff member of the wider Multi-Disciplinary Team was invited to decorate a feather, with an end goal to create a kakahu inspired by a korowai.  

Each feather masterpiece was then placed within the kakahu symbolising the coming together of the unit.  The kakahu will proudly be displayed at the entrance of the ICU. 

“These activities throughout the previous two weeks have supported the wider ICU team through whakawhanaungatanga, empowering both personal and professional development through reflection, hope and acknowledging our connection with te taiao,” Kirsta-Lee said.


Kakahu crafted by staff who were invited to create a feather each that represented their hopes and dreams, who they were.  The finished product is a symbolisation of coming together.

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